Florence provided so many delicious eats, which usually meant gelato for my daughter and fruit for me since I’m highly allergic to dairy. One sunny afternoon we were ready for a taste of something and wondered what to get for my treat since we had yet to find any vegan gelato in Florence. At that very moment our noses were filled with the most delicious and sweet aroma as we walked past a shop that sells customizable waffles! What?!
We immediately went inside and I ordered a waffle. The salesman asked if I wanted a topping, pointing to a variety of options, most of which were off-limits to me with my dairy restrictions. I settled on mixed berries and shaved coconut, slowly explaining “no milk, no cream” for me, and I was getting excited to taste my concoction. He nodded in agreement, scooped a generous spoonful of berries onto my waffle, sprinkled coconut on top of that and then turned his back to me and I realized he was smothering the entire waffle, berries & coconut with whipped cream. I called out to him to stop and he turned to look at me perplexed and I smiled and said again, “No cream!” He then proceeded to scrape off the cream, as if to give me the waffle once creamed now sans cream, and I smiled, shook my head, and said, “No,” knowing I can’t have the traces of any dairy at all. Visibly disgruntled, he set the entire creation aside and made me a new one, much to my satisfaction.
Meanwhile, Lindsay was building a fabulous option for her own eating and our two finished waffles were placed side-by-side on the counter. Just as I was reaching into my wallet for money, the salesman placed a second waffle on top of each of our waffle masterpieces — creating two waffle sandwiches. Baffled, I looked at the menu board, quickly perusing the options and there, listed as the most expensive option, was the “double waffle,” which neither of us had requested, nor had we been asked if it was wanted. These were two very assumptive counter clerks. I immediately said, “I didn’t ask you to double waffle me!” The two top waffles were removed, I then paid what we owed and we left the shop waffles in-hand.
We were delighted with how delicious the waffles tasted, given how stressful it had been to get exactly what we wanted, particularly because I was clearly, slowly and deliberately communicating throughout the entire process, and might as well not have been for all they weren’t paying attention.
It is imperative to always always always use your voice in loving kindness and in your power but use your voice. Communicate, express, create, share, acknowledge, request, but use your voice. Your power is amplified when you use it. You are the only one advocating for you. Don’t wait for someone else to speak your truth; you’re the only one who knows it.
When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret. — Shannon L. Alder
And if you’re on the receiving end of someone else’s voice? Hear it. Acknowledge it. Validate it. Celebrate it. No one says you have to agree, but listening is a gift of the greatest and noblest kind.
As W.H. Auden reminds us, “All I have is a voice.”
Use the voice that is yours.
Also, you can now use the catchy phrase, “I didn’t ask you to double waffle me!” whenever you like; it applies in all sorts of situations.